Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I rarely write a restaurant review for two main reasons. First I am too busy enjoying the food, wine, company and ambience to be jotting down notes. Secondly I have colleagues who write excellent reviews so am happy to leave the chore to them.

I am not going to write a strict review today either. I am going to dwell on food and a new restaurant but what interests me most is how the restaurant came to be.

Now it is well known that in various Costa resorts there are so many British and Northern European bars that you’d scarcely know you were in Spain. In contrast Sotogrande is a luxury urbanisation where the nation’s great and good and politicians come to rest their weary bodies in the summer months. Yet incredibly in Sotogrande Port whilst they have an Irish and English bar/restaurant, a Belgian eatery and international cuisine there has not been a high class Spanish restaurant – till now.

Step forward Adrian Van Loon who has been an estate agent in Sotogrande for more years than it would be polite for me to mention and who also has bravely fought to bring culture to this sun-kissed paradise – and battles on still.

Adrian’s old office has been sitting empty for a while in the heart of the port and he wanted to rent it as a restaurant. Various Argentinean and Italian restaurateurs approached him to take over the site but Adrian rebuffed them all – a brave move in this economic climate. He felt it was important that this idyllic corner of Spain actually had a Spanish restaurant.

His wait was rewarded because recently opened was La Taberna owned by Luis González Sánchez who hails from Toledo and Teresa García Ruíz who is from Sevilla. They had run the Triana Bar in central Madrid for a number of years which had become famous amongst the flamenco fraternity.

La Taberna has a large bar and terrace with a wide range of tapas and also a restaurant with an amazing ceiling probably only rivalled by the Sistine Chapel! The food is heavenly too –classic Spanish dishes with many roast lamb and sucking pig dishes cooked in the traditional styles of Castile-León.

I am not going to review the food because the menu is always changing but the lamb chops I had and the tuna on Adrian’s plate were excellent and we also sampled a white Rueda D.O. (Verdejo 100%) “Chamelin” (2009), a red Ribera de Duero (Tempranillo) “Conde de Sirvela” (Crianza 2006) and a dessert wine Moscatel espumoso “Reymos” Valencia – which complemented the food perfectly.

So if you are in Sotogrande this summer do head to La Taberna for a splendid meal with a warm welcome. Yes the owners are Spanish but when it comes to good food and wine there is no language barrier!

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